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This May Hurt A Bit - St James Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING their acclaimed 25th anniversary production of Our Country’s Good, Out of Joint are returning to London’s St. James Theatre with Stella Feehily’s ambitious new play about the NHSThis May Hurt A Bit.

Exploring the UK’s best-loved and most fiercely debated institution, the production will run from Monday, May 14 to Saturday, June 21, 2014.

An Out of Joint and Octagon Theatre Bolton co-production presented by Karl Sydow, This May Hurt A Bit is directed by Out of Joint Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark, whose experience of a major stroke in 2006, plus years of subsequent treatment, inspired playwright Stella Feehily (Max’s wife) to research and write the play.

It would be a great reform in politics if wisdom could be made to spread as easily and rapidly as folly – Winston Churchill.

A month after stating “we will stop the top-down re-organisation of the NHS that has got in the way of patient care”, the government launched the biggest top-down re-organisation the service had seen in its 65-year history.

Stella Feehily’s new play explores one family’s journey through the digestive system of the NHS, and asks: what is the prognosis?

Out of Joint have also announced a bold new initiative for the production’s London run, in partnership with producer Karl Sydow: Bookers who are quick enough will have access to seats from as little as £5.

Stafford-Clark says, “Here in the UK, theatre is the artform through which we grapple with the great concerns of our time. Many people have strong and complex views on the NHS, and the fact that we have sold nearly 1000 tickets already for our performances of the show in Bolton next year demonstrates a hunger to engage with the subject.

“We are determined that this dazzling and far-reaching new play will be affordable to as many people as possible, even with the financial constraints of a commercial theatre in London with just 300 seats. So we are being bold. We are making 500 seats available across the run for £5 each and a further 1000 seats available for £14 each. This would not be possible without the support of Karl Sydow, to whom we are very grateful.”

Stella Feehily’s previous plays for Out of Joint include Duck, O Go My Man, Dreams of Violence, and her most recent, Bang Bang Bang, an adventure about two human rights defenders in Congo which packed out the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs.

This May Hurt A Bit will be designed by Tim Shortall, whose previous work includes Out of Joint’s recent productions of Our Country’s Good and Top Girls, which transferred to the West End. Sound is by Andy Smith. Casting has yet to be announced.

Tickets: £34, £23, £14, £5 – available from the box office on 0844 264 2140 or online at

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Thursday and Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

The London dates follow a UK tour.

Joanna Murray-Smith’s adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Olivia Williams, runs at St James Theatre from September 11 to November 9, 2013.